Originally from Kazakhstan, Arif began his ballet training at the age of 11, at the iconic Vaganova Ballet Academy in St. Petersburg, Russia where he studied under Denis Matvienko.
Graduating from VBA in Classical Ballet and Pedagogy in 2022, Arif was invited to join both the Mariinsky and the Bolshoi Ballet, a dream he had since he was a little boy. However, watching the horrors of the Ukraine war unfold while being wholeheartedly anti-war, Arif realized he couldn’t in good conscience begin his ballet career in an aggressor country. Interested in getting exposure to a variety of American ballet styles, he auditioned for San Francisco Ballet School and received the prestigious Keith White Memorial Scholarship (awarded by Thomas E. Horn, President of the San Francisco War Memorial and Performing Arts Center and Bob A. Ross Foundation).
Graduating from SFBS in 2023, Arif was invited to join Ballet RI. He describes his new ballet home as a dynamic and artistically exciting place to be.